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Mets force decisive Game 3 against Padres in Wild Card Series

In the most crucial game of their season, the New York Mets played inspired baseball as they defeated the San Diego Padres, 7-3, to send their National League Wild Card Series to a decisive Game 3 on Sunday in Queens.

Jacob deGrom got the start and lived up to his status as the Mets' pitching staff ace. The two-time Cy Young winner pitched six innings allowing just two runs and striking out eight in his first career postseason start at home (his previous four starts took place on the road). His velocity was the big story, as many of his pitches hit 100 miles per hour or more as he blew away Padres' hitters.

Going into Game 2, there was doubt that the blister that deGrom battled through during his last start in Atlanta would play a role in Saturday's game. deGrom showed no effects from that throughout his 99 pitches. He looked comfortable and only made one major mistake in allowing a solo home run to Trent Grisham in the third inning in what could be deGrom's final start at Citi Field.

Blake Snell started for San Diego and did not seem to be in any rhythm during his 3 1/3 innings on the mound. He allowed six walks in his outing, but the bugaboo of the Mets season returned to hurt them early as they could not capitalize on the mistakes on the mound. New York finally started getting those elusive big hits as Jeff McNeill hit a two-run double and Eduardo Escobar drove in a run with an opposite-field single during a four-run seventh inning.

Even with the late-game success at the plate, the Mets were just 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded ten runners on base. For any success in Game 3 and beyond, the Mets must capitalize on those opportunities.

After deGrom departed, Mets manager Buck Showalter went to his closer Edwin Diaz in the seventh inning with New York holding a 3-2 lead. Showalter has had a penchant for bringing Diaz in games before the ninth inning, but with the season on the line, he went with his tried and true, and Diaz did not disappoint. Timmy Trumpet's favorite player pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball. Adam Ottavino pitched the remainder of the game and made it interesting late, allowing a run in the ninth inning but eventually shutting the door for the win.

Offensively the Mets also showed signs of life after Friday's Game 1 drubbing. Francisco Lindor started the scoring in the first inning with a no-doubt solo home run to left field. Citi Field began to rock with excitement and that feeling continued throughout the game. Pete Alonso hit his first career postseason home run in the fifth inning, while leadoff hitter Brandon Nimmo went 3-for-4. Throw in big hits from McNeil and very patient at-bats up and down the lineup, and New York showed why they made the postseason and was considered a dark horse to win a title.

For the Padres, they did their best Mets impersonation going 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and leaving ten players on base in the loss. Juan Soto had two hard-hit singles, which could bode well for San Diego if he starts to see the ball well going into Game 3. The rest of the Padres' lineup struggled as batters 3 through 7 in the lineup went for 1-for-20 with nine strikeouts.

What’s Next For The Mets

The stage is now set for Sunday night. The other three Wild Card Series are over, as they all finished with two-game sweeps. The Mets and the Padres have the national stage to themselves as they will play for the right to advance to the National League Division Series against the Dodgers.

First pitch is set for 7:07 p.m. at Citi Field.

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